“For the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double edge sword- it penetrates even dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. “ Hebrews 4:12
That’s intense and incredible and terrifying and encouraging and….life changing.
I am so grateful that we have a God who has taken so much care to give us a living guidebook on how to navigate this pilgrimage that we are on.
I am grateful that it has so much power.
I love that as we change and grow the same chapter and verse we may have read or heard a thousand times over can breathe new wisdom into our lives in so many different ways, depending where we are on the trip and how God wants to use it.
So….COVID-19. What an opportunity to delve into this alive and active word of God.
It’s been over 8 weeks since I last worked, and I have no idea when I will be able to go back or even IF I will be able to go back anytime soon. It’s a career that has been my passion and a major love in my life for over twenty years. That’s a hard pill to swallow. I know in my heart, it is clear that I have to walk away – at least for a season. How long will that season last? Only God knows. And what do I do next? Only God knows!
It’s a time in history when all of our lives are being turned upside down in ways we never imagined, the repercussions yet to be fully felt.
We don’t know when this season will pass (but it will – IT WILL)
and it will never be like it was – as all things change.
It is a season where our awareness of the unknown, as a world, is suddenly much more acute and our battle to try and control might have us curled up in a ball paralyzed with fear, or self-medicating to numb the crippling anxiety, or trying not to lose our temper because anger is eating at our insides because we feel so helpless. It has us reaching and searching for how we can get back to normal…whatever that is.
The struggle was never more real. We feel trapped and confused and any array of emotions at any given moment. Some of us are rocking our inner introvert and some of us have never been so lonely. Some of us are ready to get away from the people we live with while some of us are connecting more deeply, and some of us are just feeling… a bit crazy.
But we are all in this together and we all have choices to make. We can choose to let it define us or we can be bold and brave and let God define it for us and through us.
This is a moment in history where we have an opportunity. We have a choice.
To be the light in a dark world.
“Because whoever walks in the dark, does not know where they are going” (John 12:35)
“So that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
To embrace action in our thoughts, words and deeds.
“For we are to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 2:5
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
We have a choice
to be kind
“Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24
And we have a choice
to be patient
“Be still and wait patiently for the Lord to act.” Psalms 37:7
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. ” Isaiah 40:31
For many of us, our circle of influence may very small right now, maybe even just the people in our homes. You may be saying
“How can I be a light in the world when I haven’t even left my driveway in ______________days?
How are my thoughts, words, and deeds that big of a deal? I live by myself.
How can I possibly be any more patient? This homeschooling is a beast! Or my family is making me nuts!!
Ministry starts at home! All of that stuff above
Starts. At. Home.
I think it can be one of the toughest places for us to reconcile ourselves to God’s calling and yet the ripples of impact can be far reaching in the kingdom.
Is it easy? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. At home, we are with the people that know us at our best and our worst. That is why (especially in this season) it also gives us a chance to REALLY examine and practice loving the way God wants us to love. Look at this as practice for when we are more out in the world again. Are you going to fail? Yup. Probably a lot, but that gives us yet another opportunity to dive into the word of God, seeking out how alive and active it can really be – in grace and forgiveness (that’s another post!).
But how can I be light when I am by myself?
Maybe this is a season that focuses more on what you are putting in your mind which can ultimately affect how you shine into the world. Is loneliness or depression affecting you? What are you watching? What are you listening to? What are you reading? Who are you talking to?
While I do live with my husband, he works 10 hours a day, so I have had a fair amount of time alone in this season. I know for myself, that it’s when I am lost in my own head that the enemy can mess with me the most if I am not careful!
“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. “Romans 8:6
So, maybe this is a season about taking inventory of what you are putting in your mind and heart and asking God to
“Search me God, know my heart, test my thoughts and point out in me anything that makes you sad.” Psalms 139:23-24
You’ve heard the saying “you are what you eat” well, the same goes for what you put in your mind. The thoughts in your head can affect your heart and what’s in your heart can spill out into the world. What are you eating this season? Spiritual fruit or junk food?
And then, there is patience.
Where are you?
This is a major struggle point for many of us! Especially right now. Will I ever be able to ___________again? Is that person ever going to stop________? There are a lot of fill in the blanks for everyone and not all of us are acting our best while we wait. We have all heard the term, hurry up and wait – well, nothing like a global pandemic to get up in our kool-aid and force us to get eyeball to eyeball with our level of patience.
The dictionary defines patience as this – the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
I don’t know if you have looked around lately, but there is a heap of angry and upset floating around (often tied in with fear of the unknown). And it is in that vein, as believers, that it is REALLY important for us to set the tone, starting at home.
I know, I know…it is soooo much easier sometimes to bow out and throw a tantrum, be condescending, do it halfway, settle, speak before thinking, rush the process, quit or a myriad of other actions that result from impatience.
Getting uncomfortable yet? I know I am…cause a lot of that list came from a close and personal heart to heart with the Holy Spirit about my own struggles with patience. Ouch!
And I am asking you to practice that at home? During a pandemic? You bet I am!
Developing patience can be such a game changer and the payoff is spectacular.
Just not spectacularly immediate.
Patience boils down to being all about the wait.
And speaking of wait, it has occurred to me that I still have way too much to say about the importance of patience (see what I did there?)
But I will leave you with this sneak peek before we dive into that spectacular payoff I was talking about.
“Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18